Hammer Time

Monday, October 10, 2005 | 0 Comments

JD brought home his first report card since he started public school again. He is getting As in all his classes except one. And in that class he is getting a D. How is that possible?

He says that the teacher is saying that he didn't turn in two assignments that he knows that he handed in. I asked if talked to his teacher about this. He insists that his teacher said that she threw away any assignments that did not have names on them.

What?! She just throws them away? Well, that is just ridiculous! Even in college, if papers were handed in without names on them, the professor would ask about them. So what's up at the middle school? That gives the message that if your work isn't perfect, then it is worthless. That is a very bad message.

I told him to go talk to her after class to ask if she didn't, in fact, have some assignments without names on them, or if there was some way that he could make up the points. You know, seeing as EVERY OTHER CLASS HE'S GETTING As!! Not only that, but almost every assignment that he has turned in for every class he has gotten full points. So it is obvious that he is quite capable of doing the work.

He came home the next day and said that she would talk to us about it at the conference.

Ah, yes! The parent/teacher conference that comes with the report cards. This was a really weird set-up. It was to be open house, in a gym. Everyone would stand in lines waiting to talk to the teachers. You would have no privacy. So if your child was having trouble, everyone would be able to hear all about it. So if they were doing extremely well, everyone would be able to hear all about it. How was this supposed to be good for the kids?

Well, it turns out, the noise in the gym was so loud, that you could barely hear the teacher sitting across the table from you. OK, so everyone won't know your business. I guess that wasn't so bad, except for the long lines. When we saw how long the lines were, our initial reaction was to just talk to the teacher that was giving him a D and get the hell out of there. But, I decided that he should also be able to hear from teachers that gave him good grades so he could hear the ways that he was doing well in school.

They had marvelous things to say about him too. His reading teacher said he was much more prepared than other returning homeschoolers. In fact, not only didn't he have to try and catch up, he was ahead. She said that we did a great job with him. Well, thanks!

His science teacher said that he was a great participator and was always eager to get the extra credit. He loved the excitement that JD got out of science, and said that he was one of his best students.

His language arts teacher was thrilled with the progress that JD had been making socially. She said that he didn't seem to have any of the transition shock that she had seen in other previously homeschooled kids. She said that we did a great job keeping him well rounded. She seemed to have a lot of affection for him, saying that he was quite a character and great fun to have around.

Now, what about this D? Well, when we talked to her about it, she suggested that JD come look through her unclaimed work folder where she puts all the no-name work.

Oh, really! A no-name folder, huh? JD, you didn't go talk to your teacher at all about this, did you? SSB asked what could be done about the lost points if it turned out that his assignments weren't in the folder. She said that she would try to work something out since this was affecting his grade so much.

Well, I will be very hesitant to believe what JD says about school from now on, not that I really believed him this time. I knew something was up when he first started to explain the bad grade, and now I'm doubting that he even turned in the assignments. In fact, he checked today, and his assignments were not in the no-name folder. I already warned him that as long as he was honest with me, I would be his greatest ally. But if he lost my trust by lying to me, then he could not count on me to back him up.

Strike One!


Close this window Jump to comment form
Blogger OldRoses said...

What class is this? Does JD like that subject? What was your gut feeling about the teacher? Is she someone JD would hit it off with? How do the parents of the other students feel about the teacher? How do the other students feel about this teacher? Remember, JD is at a tough age. Personality, both his and the teachers, is going to start to factor into EVERYTHING! I like that you are setting rules with him and sticking to them. Contrary to this whole "self-esteem" crap that is practiced in the schools, kids need boundaries and discipline. That's another thing you are going to have to watch out for. "Self-esteem" is like a cult now among educators. Sometimes it seems that they are so busy trying to make the kids feel good about themselves that important stuff like learning falls by the wayside. Sorry, I have real issues about that subject.

October 10, 2005 11:31 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

OldRoses, the class is a required class- social studies. All the other assignments that he did for the class he got full points! He's nervous around her. I got the feeling while talking to her that she sounded nice but there was maybe something not so nice about her too- it could have just been frustration I was sensing. She had a LONG line waiting to see her, so by the time that she talked to us, she was probably worn out. But then you have to wonder why her line was so long.

October 11, 2005 7:38 AM

Blogger Shannon said...

She sounds like maybe she's strict academically and follows through with her rules for everyone equally. Ok, I have no way of knowing, I hope that's what you mean by "nice" with an element of "not-so-nice." Maybe it's not a bad thing, maybe JD will step it up and show everyone how he can kick ass in her class .

In any event, Congrats to JD for pulling such good grades and doing so well his first quarter! Middle school ain't easy.

October 11, 2005 8:52 AM

Blogger ORF said...

Syl, I was smiling just reading about the great things JD's teachers had to say about him. Congrats to all you guys!!

And as for the D, well, cut the kid a little slack. While there IS the issue of his being dishonest about how he handled the missing classwork with you, he DID perform VERY well on everything else. Maybe he just doesn't like the work and/or the teacher? My dad used to say to me that it wasn't my grades that ever mattered to him, but rather that I got something out of the class. Basically, that I paid attention and just plain learned. Isn't there some saying about how 90% of life is just showing up? It's good that you're being straightforward with JD up front about your expectations, but I'd say that he's applied himself quite well everywhere else and maybe this class will just take a little patience on his part.

Ok, sorry, end of lecture. Far be it from me to tell anyone how to parent. I can barely get my cat to keep from getting litter all over the bathroom floor!

October 11, 2005 9:16 AM

Blogger Beo said...

Hey, I don't have children but I will be at some point. So, I really feel my opinion won't be an educated one. But, the post was very interesting and I hope you guys figure out what this little discrepency is.:)

And I hope to hear about it.:)

October 11, 2005 9:42 AM

Blogger sands of time said...

My sons high school has a really weird set up i think.You get the parent/teacher conferences before the report cards.So you have no clue when you get there how they are doing in the class.

October 11, 2005 9:52 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Shannon, I think that she is fairly new to teaching. The not-so-nice I thought I was sensing was some irritation that she was trying to hide. So maybe she was just frustrated by the conference process, but it could be that she was trying to come across as reasonable in front of us, but was not the same in class. I hope that it was just the conference.

ORF, he is doing perfect in all the other assignments in that class. It is just that he is missing those two assignments, not that he has trouble with the class. I wish that I could cut him some slack, but he does not do well with that. He generally just slacks more and more if I don't get on him about it right away.
We did take him to Pizza Hut to celebrate his good grades the night of the conference. I was really glad to see that these two assignments were pretty much his only problem in school.

Beo, I will certainly be posting about our parenting escapades here. JD is at the age that a lot of people say is the hardest for kids. He was quite a handful from 0-4 so I'd hate to see him get worse than that!

Pink Lady, that isweird! I wouldn't have liked that at all.

October 11, 2005 10:35 AM

Blogger Randi said...

things will work themselves out. he should know better not to lie to you and to also get his work done....hmmm......

October 11, 2005 12:05 PM

Blogger SierraBella said...

It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job parenting.

Keep doing what you're doing and he should be fine.

Middle school is rough, period.

October 11, 2005 1:56 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Randi, he's a guy. They do things like that.

Sierrabella, thanks. I know we do a great job with him. I know so many people that tell us what a great kid he is then turn around and tell us that we are too strict with him. Why do they think that he is such a good kid?

October 11, 2005 3:43 PM